ESPN.com wrote:It was Shaun Dean's lucky day at Minute Maid Park on Sunday.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Dean, of Porter, Texas, did more than catch the game-winning home-run ball hit by Chris Burke in the Houston Astros' dramatic 7-6 NLDS series-clinching victory over the Atlanta Braves, an 18-inning, six-hour epic.
Ten innings earlier, with the Astros down 6-1, Dean caught Lance Berkman's grand slam to the left-field seats to close the gap to 6-5.
"It came right at me," Dean, 25, told the Chronicle. "I just reached over and caught it."
On catching Burke's solo shot: "It was all just a blur ... [it] came more toward my father-in-law, and he just leaned over and I reached down and caught it."
After the Burke homer, "an usher came down and talked to me," Dean told the paper, saying that the Astros normally compensate fans who return special home-run balls to the players who hit them.
Dean, who caught the home run balls approximately three hours apart, reportedly said he probably would give the ball to Burke.
"Everyone was congratulating me, patting me on the back," Dean told the paper. "I had several people say I should buy a lottery ticket or go to Vegas."
The odds of catching two home run balls are not as tough as one would think.
Brad Efron, the chairman of the department of statistics at Stanford University, told ESPN.com that the odds in this particular case are in between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 5,000.
"Of the 43,000 people there, there are actually only a couple thousand people in the ballpark who can catch a homerun ball," Efron said. "So the odds are not as astronomical."
In Minute Maid Park, there are only 763 seats in left field. Considering that there are 3,903 seats in right field, only about 10 percent of the crowd is in position to catch a home run ball.
According to a team official, Dean will attend practice with the Astros in Houston on Friday and will give the balls back to the team.
well good to know there are still some real baseball fans out there. when posada racked up his 1000th hit in baltimore, the guy who got the ball wanted money for it. but guy got lucky to catch two historic home runs.
Pretty cool that he said he'd just give the ball back. Nice to see some good eggs left in the world.
Catching 2 home run balls though. Wow. That would be awesome!
Yes doctor, I am sick. Sick of those who are spineless. Sick of those who feel self-entitled. Sick of those who are hypocrites. Yes doctor, an army is forming. Yes doctor, there will be a war. Yes doctor, there will be blood.....
I wouldn't blame him if he didn't just hand over the balls. I know that I have always dreamed of catching a ball - foul, homerun, whatever - and giving it up after I got it would be mighty hard. Hanging out with the team and a few autographs would do it though.